Over the years, and now as Jaffe’s VP of Content Strategy, I’ve been asked for my opinion about the ideal length of a law firm blog post. There are considerations for SEO (longer is better), but then there’s the issue of writing for a very busy audience, particularly corporate General Counsel.
What the pros say
Adrian Lürssen, the co-founder of JDSupra, says, “Lawyers tend to write need-to-know analysis and commentary that may not always be sexy, but invariably, it is of great interest and import to a specific audience. First and foremost, the writing should take as long as is necessary to say what needs saying.”
Melanie Trudeau, Jaffe’s Director of New Business & Digital Strategies and our SEO pro, says that “multiple factors determine how well a blog will perform in search results and studies vary from industry to industry. Research generally shows that pages with 2,400 words tend to be in the sweet spot. But I always recommend writing with quality versus quantity in mind.” Melanie’s opinion is in line with a lot of SEO pros.
If you’re interested in learning more about the relationship between word count and readership, here’s what a few well-respected search engine-marketing pros suggest:
- Neil Patel has a detailed post that includes research-based word count recommendations for several particular industries, but has yet to include law. For example:
- FinTech 2,000 — 2,150 words
- Finance — 2,100–2,500 words
- Tech — 800–1,000 words
- Buffer’s post, “The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research”
- Search Engine Journal, “What’s the Ideal Blog Post Length for SEO?”
The struggle is real
Studies have shown that once a reader clicks on a blog post, they make a split-second decision about whether the post is worth their time. While a properly optimized 2,000-word post may bring visitors to your post, you run the risk of having the effort end up being tl ;dr.* GCs are interested in your thought leadership and want to stay up to date, but often do not have the time to read exceedingly long posts.
If your lawyer’s post is heading north of 1,500 words, here are some tips to increase the likelihood that it will be read.
- Include sub-heads, just like the ones you see in this post. Sub-heads can be a quick summary or a catchy phrase to hold readers’ attention.
- Vary the length of your paragraphs. When in doubt, opt for shorter paragraphs.
- Use bullet points. They’re especially useful for breaking up long sentences with too many commas.
Perhaps Kevan Lee, Buffer’s Marketing Director said it best: “In this sense, an ideal blog post would be one that people read.”
Jaffe helps law firms sharpen their blog posts, from SEO research and developing editorial calendars to copyediting and creating buzz on social media. To learn more, contact us, Nancy Slome or Melanie Trudeau.
*Shorthand for “too long; didn’t read.”